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Old 02-01-2014, 09:55 AM   #1
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Sodium Nitrite for cycling?

When reading the main article for fishless cycling, they mentioned it would be nice to have a nitrite source so the ammonia and nitrite bacteria could start developing at the same time.

Sodium nitrite is usually used for preservation of food/meats, comes as a powder. Has anyone considered this as a source of nitrite to hasten a fishless cycle of a new tank?

I'm not sure how the extra sodium would impact the cycle or any live plants but I wouldn't expect it would be too big of a deal and it would all be reduced out or to negligible levels at the end of the cycle with enough water changes. Just seemed like an interesting experiment waiting to happen if it hadn't already been explored.

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Old 02-01-2014, 11:58 AM   #2
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Potassium nitrite would probably be more ideal, but I would just let nature do it's thing on this one. Be patient, you are in the easiest stage of aquarium maintenance! Why hasten it!

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Old 02-01-2014, 12:54 PM   #3
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Very interesting idea! sounds like a question for aquachem!
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:23 PM   #4
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I was wondering about that a while back myself but in the end just decided that it was more trouble than it was worth since I have a few fully cycled tanks already and no longer need to do a fishless cycle because of it.
"The simplest explanation for some phenomenon is more likely to be accurate than more complicated explanations." -Occam's razor
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:29 PM   #5
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I was just curious really, I'm not looking to speed up my cycle right now since I'm already in the nitrite phase.

In reality, it isn't all that cost effective, even if it does work. Sodium Nitrite is more readily available than Potassium Nitrite, but it's about $15 for 2 lbs and you'd probably only need a tsp or less per 10 gallons. I'd probably only dose it to 2 ppm at the start, and ammonia to 4 ppm. Once ammonia is breaking down (about two weeks later) it's creating nitrite, so you don't need to keep dosing Sodium Nitrite - effectively one dose is all you need. So you're pretty much paying $15 for a few tsps with the possibility of reducing the cycle by 2...maybe 3 weeks.

That's the theory anyway.
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cycling, nitrite

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